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Southern France city streets flood with wine following vandalism

Published:  04 August, 2016

French police have confirmed the criminal nature of an attack on a wine storage business in the port city of Sète, in southern France.

Several men broke into the company premises of Biron last night, opening several tanks of wine, leaving tens of thousands of litres of wine to flood nearby streets and parking lots.

"A security guard alerted police after he heard men inside the premises of Biron," a spokesman for Montpellier judicial police said, saying the incident occurred around 11.15pm last night.

Witnesses' spoke of a huge stench as streets turned red with spilled wine, in the early hours of Wednesday.

Speaking to, Jean-Baptiste Biron, the chairman of Biron said: "They are bandits, criminals; there is absolutely no excuse for these criminal acts. I would be angry if these were people, but they're animals," he said.

In a video aired by French TV station FR3, on Wednesday, a representative from CRAV, the Comité régional d'action viticole, the clandestine and violent organisation of wine producers, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Wine floods the town of SèteWine floods the city of Sète

The unnamed man complained of imported wine coming through Spain - wine of both Spanish and South American origin and entering France to be sold at lower costs.

"We have tried talking to unions, but this has not borne any fruit," the man told FR3.

The act of sabotage follows a violent arson attack on July 19th, when 30 CRAV militants attacked Sudvin, a subsidiary of co-operative producer and merchant Vinadeis, in Maureilhan near Béziers. CRAV members filmed themselves smashing an office with sledgehammers and setting fire to the establishment, before leaving graffiti on wine tanks.

The police spokesman declined to comment on CRAV's claim of responsibility for the attack on Biron.

"I cannot issue further comment as we have opened a criminal investigation into the incident," she said.

Mr. Biron said his wine stocked "was from everywhere," including Spain.

Biron stores and transports bulk wine. It has a storage capacity of 180,000 hectolitres of wine.